The changing role of CFOs in the face of digital transformation
FINANCIAL services professionals understand that leveraging digital solutions provides their companies with a competitive edge.
While technology can deliver on the promises of reducing operational time, advancing digital financial applications, and improving customer experience, the role of a financial leader is still very substantial to drive digital transformation efforts.
Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) are key leaders and must recognize, understand, and embrace the fact that technology tools are significantly elevating finance functions.
WCIG CFO Nunzio Giunta recently acknowledged this and agreed that CFOs must anticipate changes that are about to happen.
CFOs must be alert, informed, and ready to adapt to changes by enhancing their skills, developing relevant competencies, and focusing on advancing the human roles in the finance function instead.
Most importantly, CFOs must understand that at the forefront of the transformation is not the technology alone; their leadership in ensuring operational goals are met is critical to the digitalization process.
In other words, with technology solutions like cloud services, robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), CFOs must move towards transformation and guiding the firm.
“Because I have the right technology and team around me, I can spend more of my time advising the organization on how to achieve its goals and objectives,” shared Giunta.
As leaders, one of the most important skills that CFOs need to have is the ability to help their teams understand how solutions can add value to the business.
At the same time, it is understandable that employees might feel insecure that they will be less valuable with automation at work.
So, CFOs must assure employees that technology is not integrated in the workplace with the hopes of reducing headcount. Instead, it is to reduce time spent on low-skilled tasks, freeing up time for employees to upskill themselves.
Giunta added, “It was about maximizing its potential by reallocating resources into areas that could add greater value to the organization.”
Understanding technology alone is not enough, CFOs need to drive empowerment by engaging employees with the solutions deployed to create a collaborative work dynamic and be accountable in decision-making processes.
Employees should be encouraged to manage data systems and practice cybersecurity measures – this would allow them to truly be immersed in the transformation journey and understand how their responsibilities play a part in achieving success.
According to Guinta, staff must be provided with the right training and skills so that they will learn to communicate with the technology better, and understand the business strategy for a successful digitalization process.
This is especially important knowing that employees are sometimes under constant pressure to complete their tasks and meet tight deadlines.
” It is my responsibility as CFO to create a calm environment that keeps stress to a minimum. Using technology to reduce administrative burden and improve the accuracy of information is one of the levers I use to minimize stress levels.”
At the core of it all, leaders must embody their roles more constructively in a constantly evolving working environment to ensure success is within reach.